Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Housing Sector Continues to Benefit from Rudd Government Stimulus

Tanya Plibersek and South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley today inspected new housing in the Adelaide northern suburb of Mawson Lakes, which has benefited from investment through both the First Home Owners Boost and social housing stimulus.

Ms Plibersek said the Rudd Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan had helped support jobs in the construction sector during the global economic downturn.

ABS Housing Finance data released today shows the number of loans for owner occupiers increased by 0.9 per cent in the month of April (seasonally adjusted). This is the seventh consecutive monthly increase.

Increased activity is being driven by first home buyers. First home buyers made up 28.0 per cent of all new loans for owner occupation – the highest level since the ABS began collecting this data in 1991.

Ms Plibersek said a total of 78,154 Australians had taken advantage of the First Home Owners Boost by the end of April – 5,730 of these in South Australia.

The Rudd Government announced a six-month extension to the First Home Owners Boost in the recent Budget. The Boost will be reduced by half for the last three months of the extension period.

“Extending the First Home Owners Boost will support more local jobs and help more Australians realise their dream of home ownership. It makes sense to phase out measures such as the First Home Owners Boost to allow the market to re-adjust gradually as the grants reduce,” Ms Plibersek said.

“The First Home Owners Boost, combined with low interest rates has brought first home buyers into the market in record numbers.

“The First Home Owners Boost and investment in social housing are part of the Rudd Government’s response to the global recession. A strong housing market is critical for underpinning confidence and supporting jobs in the Australian economy.

“Activity in the housing sector means more jobs for electricians, builders, plumbers and other tradespeople across the country as we fight the impact of the global recession.”

The Government is also investing $6.4 billion to build 20,000 social housing dwellings across Australia. This will stimulate the building and construction industry and has been estimated by Treasury to support 15,000 jobs nationally over the next two years.

“This significant investment in housing through the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan is an important part of the Rudd Government’s efforts to support local jobs during these tough global economic times,” Ms Plibersek said.